Sakura-con 2013 Day 3 + Afterward.

Marble Hornets out of nowhere.

Last day of the con is always kind of a slow, somewhat somber affair, moreso here because it was a lot shorter than AX. I woke up around 8:30 and set out around 9:45, getting to the convention center around 10 when the Exhibit hall opened. I briefly checked the Aniplex booth to check when the autograph sessions would start, but forgot that it wasn’t going to be just Kawahara signing, but Luna and Aoi as well. Because of this, I decided to go ahead and buy the SAO singles at Kinokuniya’s booth for them to sign as well, and I also picked up the Type Moon 10th Anniversary phantasm book at this time (unlike the Toloveru Venus art book, Kinokuniya’s price for it is about the same if you bought it on Amazon, but I did want to buy it eventually in any case). There honestly wasn’t much to do besides wander around until 11:15 or so, where I would line up for Ishizuka Atsuko’s panel. There wasn’t a lot of people lined up for her, which I felt bad for, but it most likely had to do with how little she was promoted, seeing as how Sakurasou hasn’t been licensed and promoted the way Funi has Psycho Pass licensed and promoted with the other directors there. She ran a few minutes late, but when she did arrive, she had a large tapestry of Sakurasou to hang on the front desk. She said that she would show a promo clip of Sakurasou, but that they would go through some questions for her first. The entire panel essentially was just questions for her, and they never showed the Sakurasou promo they said they would show, but most of the small group there had already seen sakurasou anyways. Anyways, the first question kinda sucked because it came from some girls who obviously didn’t do their research, and asked if she worked on Trigun because she works at Madhouse. She said she didn’t, and said that if she knew she was going to be asked, she would done more research. The next question was from one of the 3 Chinese fans sitting on my right (I should mention I was front row again, but there weren’t many people, so it’s not as impressive) who had seen Sakurasou and had asked if there were any plans of a second season, which was going to be my question too. She said that while the light novel series is still ongoing, there haven’t been any plans to make one. However, she did say that if we bought lots of the BD/DVDs, they would be able to justify a second season. While she said this, she brought out the BD Box of Sakurasou Vol. 1, which I thought was funny. Though that guy asked my question, I did have a backup one, and I ended up asking how Ishizuka, who is primarily involved in MADHOUSE, felt working on Sakurasou when the production company for that was JC Staff, and what were some of the differences in working. At first, she was surprised, and said “Wow, you sure know a lot about what goes on behind the scenes” and explained that MADHOUSE has a lot more talents focusing on traditional artist style, while JC Staff had more experience with digital art style, as well as more experience with the moe concept. A few other things was that Ishizuka is one of the few female directors in the business, and jokingly said that the age of female directors will come where they will all have the male staff around their fingers. She also said that it’s easier to get things done compared to young male directors giving directions to older/veteran workers who feel they’re further along in their career; she can instead phrase them as requests instead of orders. The big twister for me was Ishizuka saying that she was in charge of animation for Persona 4 Golden’s Opening artwork, and that she served the same role in Persona 4 Arena as well. At this time, she also brought out a Persona 4 Golden keyboard cover, which she did the artwork for Chie on it. Again, why wasn’t she more heavily promoted?

Afterwards, the MC said that we were very lucky to have come to the panel because they had some gifts for attending: Ishizuka then gave out same Sakurasou goods and the Persona 4 Golden Keyboard cover away to people in the audience. I was almost hoping she’d give away the Sakurasou BD as well, but unfortunately not. The way these were done was that we would play Janken with her, and only the people who won against her hand would proceed until there were only two left, where the two players would play against each other. She first gave away the desk Sakurasou tapestry, whom the girl in the Chinese fan group won, and then a tapestry of Shiina, whom one of the boys in the Chinese fan group won (I really wanted that one too, fuckdammit). I did, however get to score the Persona 4 Golden Keyboard cover, which I almost had to fight for if it wasn’t for one of the staffers giving up when it was just me and him….and surprise surprise, it was actually one of the translators that was with Fujimura during Guest Reception, which was quite a surprise haha. They also gave out a Shiina iphone 5 Case, a green tea cup, and some other stuff I can’t remember. The last things were 5 cell phone straps, 4 of them being little body pillows of Shiina, Nanami, Misaki, and Ryuunosuke, and the last one being an emblem from the series which I recall seeing, but I don’t remember. I got the one of Shiina. The panel was officially done, but everyone of us who got something asked her to sign the item. I think I got the most appropriate thing out of this, since she did draw the P4G cover. I’ve said this before, but she is pretty damn cute for a 31-year-old. I actually wish I took a picture with her during the guest reception, but at least I have one of her now.

After this was the ticketed autograph session, which wasn’t all that eventful except for people having discussions on SAO related stuff in line. I did try to get someone to take a picture of me getting my stuff signed by Kakahara, but he couldn’t make it past the crowd and only got my backpack. I also made a mistake with Aoi’s, since I actually wanted her to sign the inside of the Innocence single on her picture like I had done for the other CDs, but I don’t plan on opening the CD much anyways. Afterwards, there was still some time to kill before the photo shoot and raffle, so I decided to get some food from one of the Convention center cafe. I had a personal pan pizza, thinking it’d be pretty bad, but I was lucky to get what was probably the freshest cafeteria bought pizzas, where the cheese was still oozing, the oil on the pepperoni still quite hot (so hot that I burnt part of the roof of my mouth), and the crust still crispy. It was actually a satisfying lunch rather than just eating to curb hunger. Afterwards, the line for the photo was starting, but you had to have the concert T-Shirt present to take a photo with them (you didn’t actually have to wear it, just able to present it). I had left it in the hotel because I had worn it during the concert the previous day, but went back to the hotel to go ahead and grab it, because, just like the ticketed autographs, you were guaranteed to get a photo as long as you had it, since they were limited. My only gripe was that it was smelly from the sweat of the concert, so I blasted the entire thing with AXE Body Spray to make it smell nicer. As for the actual photo, I had it where I held up the t-shirt as we were taking the photo and Aoi and Luna pointed at it. I couldn’t wait to see the picture taken by one of the staff “professionals”..

Contact me if you know how to repaint pictures so it looks less shit.

And this blurrtastic piece of crap was what I got. Some “professional.” Ah well, I still have the guest reception picture, using that shit as my phone wallpaper.

Finally the raffle began and….I didn’t win shit. D: In fact, I stood RIGHT NEXT to the guy (cosplaying Okabe/HOUOUIN KYOUMA) who won the big SAO tapestry signed by both Luna and Aoi, the grand prize. Was disappointed that I didn’t win, but not so much that it ruined my day (like the Fujimura autograph thing). Afterwards, there really wasn’t much to do except wander around a bit more.

Closing Ceremonies for Sakura-con was a bit different than what I was expecting from my experiences at Anime Expo: instead of reintroducing the guests on stage and saying good bye and all that, they screened the winner of the AMV contest (this really well done EVA Rebuild AMV whose song I didn’t catch the name of), a koto performance by the Seattle ensemble Silk Strings, and a Taiko drum performance by another Seattle based production (if that’s the right word for it). They were all very impressive, and I’d love to see one of these done for other cons as well. It ended by a Banzai chant and that was that. The entire convention center hadn’t completely shut down, but people were starting to leave, so I did the same.

With everything done and little actual sightseeing done on my part, I decided to take a walk through Seattle, first down to the waterfront to eat at Elliot’s Oyster House, then stopped by the first Starbucks to pick up something to send to my mom and dad. Got them the Pike Place Roast (two of them set me back like $16, holy shit), then got myself an Iced Caramel Macchiato and called it a day.

All in all, Sakura-con was a lot more enjoyable than I initially thought it was going to be; not because I had any negative thoughts about it, but because I knew it wasn’t going to be as big as AX in LA was. However, this turned out to be a blessing in this case since panels weren’t as far a walk from each other and it made navigation easy to the point where I knew where everything was in a day as opposed to having to be at AX in it’s entirety to finally get a grasp of where stuff was. I think the Guest Reception is also one of the best things about it if you’re big on meeting Guests of Honor like I am. I would definitely come back next year.

Loot

Time to show off the crap I got at the con, woo hoo.

First up, all autographed Shikishi boards.  From top left, clockwise: Fujimura Ayumi, Haruna Luna, Kawamoto Toshihiro, Kawahara Reki, Aoi Eir, Ishizuka Atusko.

The two art books, both bought at Kinokuniya: Venus, To-Love-Ru Darkness Illustrations, and Type Moon 10th Anniversary Phantasm.

Prayer and Innocence Singles by Aoi Eir and Sora wa Takaku, Kaze wa Utau and Overfly singles by Luna Haruna. Again, I meant to have Eir sign her picture for Innocence, but forgot to open it to specify. Ah well.

The Concert T-shirt and the green foam glowstick I got from the Sony booth.

The Sword Art Online wallscroll that came with the ticket for the autograph session.

The Gundam Unicorn posters and pencil boards I got, including the signed one by Fujimura Ayumi and Stephanie Sheh.

The double sided Psycho Pass posters from the Funimation booth. I got two so that I could show off both sides.

And finally, the P4 Golden Keyboard Cover and Sakurasou Mashiro body pillow cell phone strap from Ishizuka Atsuko’s panel.

Quite a haul, just as much as my AX 2012 trip. Less Shikishi boards, but more combined autographs overall with the singles. Let’s see if AX 2013 can top this.

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Sakura-con 2013: Day 2

Only Arena Mitsuru Cosplayer I saw.

Day 2 started with me attempting to find a McDonald’s for breakfast, but ending up settling for Starbucks once again closer to the convention center. I eat their version of the McMuffin and an ICED Caramel Macchiato this time. It would be around 9:20 where I would meet with Chang in front of the autograph room where we would then get to be the first 5-6ish in line for the Unicorn panel. While in line, we noticed there were some people who were actually trying to line up for Kawamoto Tomohiro, the character designer for Cowboy Bebop, Wolf’s Rain, and one of the founders of Studio BONES. Chang actually had his autograph on his to-do list, and I found out that Kawamoto was also involved with Char’s Counterattack as well, which Chang brought a copy of for him to sign. We agreed to wait in line for him after getting Fujimura’s and Sheh’s. Fujimura came, this time wearing cute overalls, and I was ready to get my Ibuki stick art signed. However…

Announcer: Attention everyone. We have a few requests from our guests. First off, no photography or video of this is allowed
Me: Uh huh, haven’t heard that before…
Announcer: They also will only be signing Gundam Unicorn related things, nothing else.
Me: Wait, WHAT!?

So yeah, nothing else other than Gundam Unicorn related things would be signed. Chang had the poster I had given him, but I did not bring it because I only planned on having her sign either the stick or, if they did not want it because it was “unofficial,” the artbook of the Kara no Kyoukai blu ray box with Azaka’s BD covers on it. Bandai, however, wanted to push Unicorn very VERY hard, it seems, to the point where nothing unrelated to Unicorn would be signed. Not even the autograph section of the Convention booklet or a Shikishi board. If you did not have anything, they would instead give you the pig pencil board of the episode 6 poster I had gotten. All in all, I thought it was pretty damn stupid to not get whatever we wanted signed, especially considering Fujimura would be leaving to go back to Japan later tonight so she could sleep Sunday in Japan and go to work on Monday. and if I had to get something Unicorn related signed, it would’ve been either the poster, or a BD, but I was unprepared for this. I’m not ungrateful with what I got, but I do think it was pretty damn unfortunate that I was in a situation where, even if I had the stick on Day 1, I’d have to choose between a stick and a Shikishi board. Bandai pls ;_;

Afterwards, we indeed got in Kawamoto’s line and got his autograph. I was actually hoping for maybe a sketch, but due to time constraints, they requested to only have signatures. Pretty nice anyways, I told Kawamoto how I liked Wolf’s Rain before I left.

After that madness, me and Chang decided to go back to the dealer hall again. I stopped by the Sony booth and picked up two Fate/Zero singles: Haruna Luna’s Sora wa Takaku Kaze wa Utau and AOi Eir’s Prayer, which….did NOT come with Memoria like I thought it would, only the instrumental version. I should’ve paid attention to what the Memoria single looked like, because I remember that from the panel yesterday, the cover was of Saber and Irisviel. However, I don’t even remember this single being on sale at the Sony booth the day before, and I didn’t find it in Kinokuniya’s booth (where they add about $6 to the price of the CD than Sony’s booth). Thus, I’d have to buy Blau if I wanted Memoria, but I was more interested in having a Fate/Zero display piece cover. Ah well, move on.

As it neared 11:30, I left to line up for Fujimura’s Q&A panel whereas Chang would wander around until Kawahara’s panel started, as that line would be packed. He said he would try to save me a seat, but that it might not happen because of the mass amount of people attending. I did want to ask Kawahara about 16.5, but I didn’t want to give up on the possibility that Fujimura might have a surprise signing after her panel for non-Unicorn related goods. A man can dream, can’t he?

I was among the first people lined up while the Funimation panel was going on, meeting up with the two guys from her Guest Reception table, but a real line didn’t start forming until minutes before the panel started. I kinda felt bad because there actually wasn’t that many people for Fujimura (which is surprising given the large audience for Gundam UC’s Episode 6 dub showing), though it was still a good amount of people. I was able to get the front row this time and Again, more PR questions and whatnot, pushing Gundam UC, and then the floor opened to like 3 questions, which I again was able to ask, this time about one question that elluded me the previous night: about Fujimura’s role as Fi from Zelda: Skyward Sword, and what recording was like for that game, since Fi speaks gibberish, and is not supposed to sound like she is speaking Japanese. Her answer?

Fujimura-san says that she actually did the gibberish hands on, and was given only instruction on how to express Fi’s feelings during the recording.

I’m sure there was more to this answer, but I honestly can’t remember at this moment. If anyone else who was there wrote down everything, I’d like to see if I missed anything.

And just like before, anyone who asked her a question got the same Gundam Unicorn poster from yesterday. So yeah, I have gotten that poster every possible moment I could. AFter that was done, I kept hoping for something like a quick signing or something, but it ended, I took one more longing glance at Fujimura, then left to join Chang at the SAO panel, which had just barely started once I got there. Chang said he had a seat open for me near the front row closest to the guests on the left side of the room, but I couldn’t find him, so I kept hovering near the front of the left side of the seats. And then:

MC: We’ll be doing a little Q&A first, so everyone line up on the left side here.

I was exactly where I needed to be. Got in line, was maybe the 5th person away. Then I spot Chang: he’s the 2nd or 3rd person ahead of me.

Now earlier, I had texted Chang that if I couldn’t make it, if he would ask about Chapter 16.5 being canon and telling me what his reaction was. Well, I did make it, but Chang didn’t know I was here yet, so he decided to ask that question.

Here’s the links to the panel. Chang is the one in white, I show up later with the Madcatz Stick bag.

Since Chang had used up my question, I had to think of another one on the spot, so I decided to ask about the SAO: Progressive novels.

After the panel, me and Chang decided to get some quick lunch at a Pho restaurant a couple blocks from the convention center. Ate fairly quickly, then hurried back to the same room for the SAO dub premiere. It’d still be a few hours before we could think about waiting in line for the concert, so despite telling Chang I’d probably leave after the Q&A, I decided to leave after the dub was finished where they would be raffling off some signed SAO goods that I thought we wouldn’t win.

As for the dub itself, the voices for Kirito and Asuna are Bryce Papenbrook and Cherami Leigh respectively. Bryce was also at Sakura-con as a guest of honor, and was here to promote the dub of the show during the reveal. I don’t normally like dubs, but Bryce in particular I didn’t have very much affection for. His Kirito sounded a little too old for Kirito, and while I thought this would probably change once the Mirror is used and everyone’s avatar changes, it remained the same the entire 2 episodes. OVerall, not all that impressed, would’ve given it to someone else. Cherami Leigh’s Asuna on the other hand was pretty decent, she definitely suits Asuna’s distant attitude for this part of the story (found out through a quick Wiki lookup that she’s Funi’s voice for Shana when they got the rights for Shakugan no Shana from Geneon). Don’t know how well she’d treat Asuna’s Deredere mode later, but I don’t really have any intention of watching SAO dubbed, so whatever.

Chang decided to stick around, so I just gave him my raffle ticket while I went down to the lineup for the concert. In the actual concert stage, I could hear Aoi Eir going through dress rehearsal from the lobby, and I caught a few glimpses of her on the video screen whenever staff entered or exit the Main stage. The line up hadn’t started yet, but I did notice something in the lobby I had missed: Priority Wristbands. Essentially, if you booked an affiliated hotel through the Sakura-con site, you’d get a priority wristband that would get you in the first line for any main events. I made my way over and asked how to get one, and they said they merely needed the confirmation number from the hotel.

Here’s the thing: I knew which hotels were affiliated with Sakura-con, but I didn’t book through that site, I went through Marriot’s main site to reserve the room. I gave them my hotel confirmation number, but they didn’t match up with their records. However, I lucked out: someone else had gone through the same thing earlier today, and they were just jotting down names and confirmation numbers and giving out the priority tickets anyway. So yeah, I got one. When Chang came down, I explained to him what just happened, and he flipped out later when the line up started and I got into the priority line ahead of him. This has been the only con I’ve been to so far where I’ve gotten pretty damn close to every event I’ve gone to, and it felt pretty good.

The seating inside the main stage actually had the very front as standing, so I had to just plant my bag at my feet and hope no one else stepped on it. The actual concert was pretty damn good, even though it was all pre-recorded instrumental tracks and not a full band like LiSA or Kajiura’s FictionJunction concert. They opened up with a cover of “Connect” from Madoka Magica. Afterwards they did some general cutesy Engrish script stuff for the audience, and Aoi left the stage so Luna could do her songs first. I’m pretty sure I’m missing one song, but Luna’s setlist that I can remember was:

Sora wa Tataku, Kaze wa Utau (Fate/Zero ED 2)
Mizu no Akashi (Gundam SEED Insert)
overly (Sword art Online ED 2)

At this point, Aoi Eir then took to the stage to perform her half. Again, I think I’m missing one, and the order of the first few might be different, but her setlist was:

Aurora (Gundam AGE OP 4)
Avalon Blue
Innocence (Sword Art Online OP 2)
Memoria (Fate/Zero ED 1)

At this point, Aoi called Luna back up on the stage and they performed a duet cover of the 1st OP and ED of Sword Art Online, Yume Sekai and crossing field.

A few things that happened during Aoi’s portion of the concert: the A/V team messed up during the transition from Innocence into Memoria because Aoi was starting to talk to the audience a bit after Innocence was done, but the background video had already started to transition to the one for Memoria, and a metronome was audible through the speakers, prompting Aoi to pick up the song on the verse that matched the beat it was on immediately. She handled it very well given the amount of time she had to start singing again.

Also, they may or may not have done the same thing during the transition from Yume Sekai into Crossing Field, because Aoi and Luna said that Yume Sekai would be their last song, which I assume means they were going to get the audience to do the whole “ENCORU” chant before performing Crossing Field, but it again went into Crossing Field as soon as Yume Sekai was done. That, or they just made a mistake by saying “song” and not “songs.” Regardless, the duet was pretty good, I think Luna’s voice was more suited to Yume Sekai do to her softness compared to Aoi, who handled Crossing Field really well since she has the same type of strength and tone to her voice as LiSA does.

Here comes the fun part: it was time for them to take the stage audience picture, which means it was time for me to take a page from my AX 2012 post-LiSA concert to Kajiura Yuki autograph session experience. This was important here especially because the layout of the room meant that whoever was sitting in the back would be closest to getting in front of the line for the autograph session. I made my way through the crowd to get to the exit, making it just in time for them to thank everyone and leave the stage, where everyone then proceeded to get through each other to wait in line for the autographs. Thanks to my brilliant planning, I again got in front of the line with the first 5 or 6 people. There was a weird misunderstanding with the staff lady said that “They would only sign one item, period,” implicating something like both of them signing one CD even though they have no CDs where their songs are in together. This was cleared up due to being massively retarded, however, and I was able to get the Promise Single and Sora wa Takaku Kaze wa Utau Singles signed.

Chang had been calling me while I was getting my stuff signed, he was at the beginning of the third line that had formed past the first one. After I was done, he decided to leave with me since he didn’t really need an autograph from them because we went to their first one. From here, we wandered around the area seeing what there was to eat around here, though it was a given that a majority of the sit down restaurants like Cheesecake Factory were full. Around this area, there’s a lot of people asking for money and stuff because obviously the convention is going down and lots of people are passing by. However, hobo in particular was on a guitar singing an accoustic rendition of “When Doves Cry” by Prince, whom I totally would’ve given a few bucks if I had cash in my wallet at the time. I even looked for him later to see if he was still around, but never saw him again. After wandering about trying to find other restaurants, Chang and I decided on this panini sandwich shop (well I decided, Chang wasn’t hungry), got a myself a ham and prosciutto sandwich which was pretty damn good.

Something I’ve neglected to mention last post was that when you bought Aoi Eir or Luna Haruna stuff at the Sony Booth, you got a raffle ticket for every $10 you spent. They’d be giving away some signed posters and a big SAO Concert banner signed by both Luna and Aoi. The raffle would be held on Sunday, but Chang would be leaving early that morning, so he gave me his raffle tickets…which were in his hotel room so we had to walk all the way there to get them. Afterwards, we checked out the arcade room where we played DDR Extreme and holy shit am I bad at this game now. Last song we tried was So Deep, and I was done halfway in. There was also an AE 2011 cabinet setup there where some guys were taking it easy with a little kid and letting him win. His mother said that once he lost, they’d have to go back to their hotel, but the group kept letting him win in order for him to have him walk away a winner, so the mother actually asked the next person up to go ahead and beat him, which they obliged. The last panel we checked out was the Late Night Abridgers panel, where Little Kuriboh and some other persons were. I was really tired at this point, so I left halfway through to get some sleep, and said my goodbyes to Chang. I’d be facing tomorrow alone. ;_;

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Sakura-con 2013! Day 0 and Day 1

Hot damn, it’s been a while since I’ve written something like this.  There wasn’t many blogs on Sakuracon experiences, so I decided to post my own.

I’ve never been to Sakura-con before.  The decision to go was kind of abrupt and sudden, but I ended up flying over to Seattle to attend, namely to get away from work for a little bit, and hopefully to get a signature of Fujimura Ayumi on an arcade stick art of Ibuki that I had made for me by Tek-innovations for my eightarc fusion stick.  There was also some SAO related stuff happening, and while I’m not a huge SAO fan, I did want to ask about the infamous Chapter 16.5 and see how the author, Kawahara Reki, would respond to it.  So I had a few motivations to go.  Was it worth it?  Oh hell yes.  Still, every con experience has it’s fair share of struggles when things don’t go exactly your way, so I will take the time to share those struggles with any person who should stumble across this post.

Day 0

Quick protip if you guys are flying in from the Pacific Northwest: Don’t take Alaska Airlines.  They will lose your shit even though you only flew from Great Falls to Helena (30 minutes away) and then straight to Seattle.  They lost my bag, which contained my arcade stick, my Kara no Kyoukai BD Artbook, CLOTHES, toiletries, everything.  Essentially, this meant that I had the same smelly crap on for the next few days depending on whether or not they would find it in time.  At the very least, they’d have it the next day.  At most, they wouldn’t find it until a month had passed.  I honestly don’t see how you can lose people’s luggage this easily and nonchalantly.  As such, I was in a very salty mood going into the shuttle to the hotel and trying to find the convention center to pick up my badge.

As for actual pre-registration, one thing I do like about Sakura-con is that their pre-registration went from Noon until 9 PM.  I don’t remember what AX’s was, but I remember it being only a few hours.  Also, the wait wasn’t very long since I had gotten to the center at 7:30, I waited 30 minutes at the most to pick up my badge.  Afterwards, with nothing else to really do, I decided to go back to the hotel, to get myself situated as far as clothes and toiletries were concerned.  Since I didn’t know the city very well and didn’t really want to wander around looking for things, I merely bought a Seattle T-shirt at the hotel gift shop, a tooth brush + paste, and deoderant.  They didn’t carry much else, so that plus what I had on besides the shirt were my clothes for tomorrow as well.  Felt pretty gross.

Ended up eating at the hotel restaurant that night, got some sort of fish special with capers, white wine sauce, some asparagus and carrots.  It was actually quite nice, and I remember thinking afterwards that it’s a good thing I got seafood since Seattle is a seafood heavy city.  In lieu of bread and butter, they gave out a cheese, olive, and cracker plate which I ended up eating the majority of.  The olives were the things I was a little cautious about as I’d never had them outside of a pizza, but it actually tasted a bit fruity.  Dessert was this apple tart, which tasted pretty good.  After this, felt sleepy, and I ended up trying to go to bed at around 11 PM, trying to get my 8 hours.

Aw yeah, let’s get fat.

Day 1

I ended up waking up at like 3:30 AM for a random moment, I have no idea why.  After trying to fall back asleep in vain, the neighboring room (1621) is filed with various laughter; I found out later that it was some guy and his 4 daughters staying over for the convention, but I have no idea what they were doing up this late.  I do now that their attempts to keep quiet about their laughter was preventing me from falling asleep, so after waiting for maybe half an hour, I banged on the wall a few time, and it got them to shut up real fast.  Still couldn’t fall asleep for whatever reason, so I just stayed up the entire night browsing, and ate at Starbucks once it opened.  I honestly got so bored, that I just decided to show up at the convention center around 8:50 and wait out the last hour to get into the exhibition Hall first.  Turns out it was a good thing I did, since this actually set into motion my entire weekend.

Again, rather than go to the opening ceremonies, I opted to wait it out to get into the Exhibit Hall in order to find Shikishi boards for autographs. Call it “Fate” (harr harr), but for whatever reason I walked down the aisle to the Aniplex booth first, where they were selling a con exclusive SAO wallscroll for $30.  However, this was one of those “buy it for an autograph” incentive items similar to the time it was done with Katsuyuki Konishi back in AX 2010 or most of what NIS America does with their guests when you buy a BD set with the featured guest.  As such, I was guaranteed the autograph session on Sunday with Kawahara Reki, the author of Sword Art Online, Eir Aoi, singer of Innocence (2nd SAO OP) and Memoria (1st F/Z ED), and Luna Haruna, singer of overly (2nd SAO ED) and Sora wa Takaku Kaze wa Utau (2nd F/Z ED).

It was during the line waiting to buy the sAO wallscroll that I would meet my companion for all of today and of Day 2: Chang Kim.  I had chatted with him a bit while waiting, but it wasn’t until after I had gone to the Copic booth to buy some loose Shikishi boards and headed towards the Sony/Aoi Eir and Luna Haruna booth that we ran into each other again.  I bought the $20 concert shirt, as did he, and we started talking for a bit before I decided to ask if he’d wanna have some company for today, and he agreed.

After the dealer’s hall purchases, we headed towards the autograph room, which essentially was an isolated version of the autograph section that AX usually has during it’s years, with it being separated from the Exhibit Hall a good walk away.

The first guests scheduled to be signing autographs would be Vic Micnogna and Kawahara Reki at 12 PM.  So we decided to try for it around 11:20, as Sakuracon does not let a line form until 30 minutes prior to the signing.  This was actually a smart move on my part because I could monitor when the lineup for Fujimura’s panel would be.  I would get out of Kawahara’s since I had Sunday’s session guaranteed (Chang had to leave on Sunday to prepare on school for Monday, so this would be one of his only chances).  Because of this, I ended up being the first 4 in line for Fujimura, and Chang would wait for me once I got my signature until the time for lining up for Luna Haruna and Aoi Eir’s panel would be, which ended up being so.  While in line for Fujimura, we did see an entourage and an Asian girl walking towards the back of the autograph part, which we assumed was Fujimura.  It turned out to be Luna Haruna, however, as she was much too small.  Apparently, she was walking towards one of the paths to prepare for her panel, which would take place at 1.  When Fujimura finally showed up, her hair was a lot different from the Sakuracon/agency photo:  it was brown/brunette, with short princess curls that went longer than her cheeks, stopping short or just after her neck.  As soon as I got up there, I went ahead and did my awkward “Yoroshiku onegaishimasu” to her and waited for her to finish.  After getting it back and exchanging an “Arigatou gozaimasu” I awkwardly managed to stutter a “I love Ibuki from Street Fighter” (Sutriito Fuaita no Ibuki wo daisuki-desu) and she kinda laughed before I left.

I went to line up for the Luna Haruna and Aoi Eir panel, where Chang had said it’s already starting to fill up, but he was able to save a seat for me so far.  When I went however, the line was already circling around the panel hall and some staff member said that “It’s to capacity, you won’t get in if you line up” …right as the line starts moving inside.  Fuck her, I thought, and I proceeded to follow the line where I promptly got inside, got in Chang’s seat he saved for me, and proceeded to listen in on the panel.  It was the same PR related questions where Aniplex/Sony is pushing their albums, and they only took 4 ish questions.  Anime News Network has a summary of all the questions, I was able to ask one regarding the Type Moon 10th anniversary concert last year.

After their panel was over, it was a mad rush to get to their autograph session, which wasn’t too bad. Me and Chang got there fairly quickly, got near the front of the line and got our autographs signed quickly. It’s a shame that their actual autographs weren’t super decorated like the ones Aniplex was giving out on their facebook contest, and they weren’t personalizing them either which kinda sucks, but regardless it was great getting autographs from them. I really like Aoi’s butterfly motif in her signature, pretty clever.

After that was the Gundam Unicorn dub premiere.  I’d already seen episode 6, but I was mostly interested in the Q&A portion (again, PR questions with like 3 questions from the audience), and whether the panel would be ticketed for the Gundam UC autograph session tomorrow (which it wasn’t).

So we all know that there are a bunch of retarded fans at cons right?  Here’s one such example:

Some retard cosplayer was sitting in front of me wearing some weird Naruto costume (It had Sasuke’s clans symbol on the back, and he was wearing a blue leaf village bandana similar to that guy with all the scars on his face), and he was talking to some other nerd about which Gundam was the best or which ones were really good.  Sarcastically, I go ahead and yell “Guys, the best Gundam is G-Saviour.”  First off, these motherfuckers either don’t get that I’m being sarcastic, or they just really didn’t want to go along with my joke because I’m stupid, but Uchiha man seems more the one that’s like “You don’t deserve to like Gundam” because of it.  Afterwards those two start talking again, and Uchiha man says that SEED Destiny was good.

“And you think I’m retarded for saying I liked G-Saviour?”  Which I actually said to him, with only him rolling his eyes and turning away towards the screen again.  Uchiha-man pls.

During the fan Q&A,  I direct the question at both Fujimura and Stephanie if while reading the script for these past 6 episodes, if they feel Mineva is in love with Banagher or if it’s just some Newtype connection that exceeds all bounds and crap.

Fujimura was the only one who answered (but I would’ve rather heard her opinion than Stephanie’s, I just didn’t want Stephanie to feel left out…even though the previous question was directed solely at her) and she said that in the previous episode, 5, when Mineva jumps off the ship and tells Banagher to catch her, it symbollically means that Mineva is entrusting everything to him, whereas like she said before that Mineva usually hides her feelings and it isn’t until episode 6 when Banagher asks her what she wants to do that she steps up to her beliefs.  As far as love is concerned, however, she feels that Mineva has the war to think about and Fujimura would like to think that after the war is over, perhaps they could have a romantic relationship.

Oh and they did a live voice acting contest.  And I took part in it.  That was fun.

The five that were picked (myself, two other guys, and two girls) was to dub Mineva’s dialogue with Riddhe right before she jumps off the ship and tells Banagher to catch her.  So, essentially, we guys had to act as girly as we could for Mineva…except that the ones that did try to act girly and match Stephanie Sheh’s performance didn’t actually win, and it was the guy who went first who made it funny by having Mineva act as a man that won 2nd place.  A girl won the first one and got to choose between two MG model kits, the Sinanju Stein (which she picked) and Riddhe’s mass produced ReZel suit (which the guy took as second place).  The other three, however, got a poster…which was the same that I already got for asking a question so I got two and ended up giving one to Chang.

After the Q&A session was over, it was time for me to head to my most awaited event of the night:  the Guest Reception.

I made my way up to the Sheraton hotel and took the elevator up (which, surprisingly, I took with Stephanie Sheh who was also heading towards there to prepare for it.  She noticed me and congratulated me on doing the voice acting thing, lol).  While up there, I decided to call Alaska Airlines once more to see if my bag was found, and they told me it has, but that it would not arrive at my hotel until around 10:30, which was all that could be done at this point.  I then decided to mingle a bit with the other guests, asking a person named Spencer about how the Guest Receptions usually go, and him telling me it’s pretty relaxed and intimate.  Another one, Ronikka Kendall, came and we talked about a bunch of various stuff relating to military crap (she’s a Navy brat), before going inside and finding a table to sit at.  I immediately look for Fujimura’s Table, and while she isn’t here yet, her table is almost full.  I snag a chair, leaving one left, and I’m introduced to essentially 4 pairs of couples/spouses and no one for me.  Why can’t I have a qt3.14 gf.  Turns out, none of them are really for Fujimura personally (besides one couple, but they’re more interested in just autographs in general) and said that they’d move out their for the sake of me once she comes.  She wouldn’t show up until around 7 or so though, so we decided to just eat while the food was hot.  I didn’t want to eat too much, so I only got a portion of the mushroom beef filet, yukon gold scallopped potatoes, and some bread and butter.  After sitting a while, Fujimura did show up, but her and her translators, Bandai Visual rep and Ken Production rep sat at a table more towards the corner of the room, and we had to wait a while before someone would escort 4 (me, the couple, and this other guy who knew more Japanese than me but was still pretty bad) to her table.  Even when we got there, she and her group hadn’t finished eating yet, and they would only semi nibble at their food when there was a large enough gap between questions.  The couple asked if she would sign something for them, but the management said that Fujimura wouldn’t be signing anything today, and they left afterwards.  It was just me, this other guy, his friend who spoke more fluent Japanese that would join us later, and Ronikka who would show up later as well.

I sip water the entire time whenever I get nervous.  And it becomes apparent during the entire dinner because they start bringing me other pictche I’m chugging like 3 pitchers of water

First off, during the dinner, I stop myself at the beginning A LOT because of my nervousness.  I end up talking with her translator more at first as he asks me to just relax and calm down for this. I take a few deep breaths and at some point later somebody (Her agent from KEN Production, I think) pours me a glass of water and I immediately take to drinking it whenever I either don’t have much to say, or before/after any question I ask.  Ended up drinking 3 pitchers of water while sitting there.  I still don’t really relax much, but I am able to squeak every possible question I could think of at the moment, every little trivial thing that I would want to ask a seiyuu if I had the time to interview them.

I wasn’t writing this down when I asked these questions, so the order in which these are presented don’t match the order these were asked except for the Ibuki question, so keep that in mind if these seem inconsistent.  These are also only my questions, and don’t include the other people sitting here asking their questions unless I mention otherwise.

-For Ibuki, did she research 3rd Strike on the other actress who played Ibuki in order to get her voice down, or did she just audition normally?

She says no, and instead says something like Ibuki fits into an archtype that she’s very familiar with, so she played her as she did with no reference to 3rd Strike.

-She then asks “You were at the panel weren’t you?”

“Yes, I’m a little embarassed.  [Voice Acting] the scene was really hard.”

She says she knows the feeling, she was like that too before.

-I ask if she went to a school to become a seiyuu, and she did.  I ask if there’s anyone from her class that she also now works with currently, and she says the new seiyuu for Tsurugi in the new Inazuma Eleven.  I think it’s Maeno Tomoaki (Junichi in Amagami, Hwoarang Japanese in SFxT)

-I apparently made myself apparent that I was a “die-hard Fujimura fan.”  I really am not, I just seiyuu-fag a lot, but I won’t lie that I do find Fujimura’s roles among the ones I look forward to a lot of the time.  I’m also just not over the general shock of getting some real face time with her.  So when they point this out, I kind of laugh, and they ask me what character she’s voiced is my favorite.  I list 3:

Ibuki
Chiharu from Hayate no Gotoku
Misaki from Maid-sama, but I do not for the life of me remember what her named was, so I just said Kaichou wa Maid-sama no Main Chyara desu.  Yeah, exactly like that.  I am such a faggot.

I say I’m sorry I can’t remember Misaki’s name because it’s been a long time, since Maid-sama aired in at the time I thought was 2010 (I was right too, April 1st, 2010)

I don’t know why I didn’t mention Azaka from KnK, but I do really like those other characters.  Azaka should have been 2nd though.

As for Ibuki…oh boy here we go…

I say Ibuki because I tell them that I play SF in tournaments and Ibuki is my main character, even though none of this is the case at all (I don’t even play SFIV that much, let alone main Ibuki).  They want me to go in more detail and I tell them about the Evolution fighting game tournament, and I give them a better idea by mentioning Umehara Daigo, Which seems to have gotten the point across a lot better.  I then tell them I have something Ibuki-related that I’d like for Fujimura to sign tomorrow, which I don’t think got across to them due to something happening on Day 2.

-Me: “I know she worked with Okamoto Nobuhiko in Maid-sama and Seiken no Blacksmith.”  I asked if them doing the opposite leads in Blacksmith led them to doing Maid-sama together.

She says it was merely coincidental that they starred opposite leads again for Maid-sama.  Their translator said that it may have had to do with the synergy/chemistry they have together.

-The girl translator asks if the guy next to me ever thought of going into voice acting, and he says no, and I agree with him, since I knew a few hours ago how hard it was.  She asks if he likes plays and he mentions he was in theater, and I mention I sang in musicals in high school, so I can sing, not act.  The girl translator explains to me that actresses in Japan, besides voice work, also sing a lot sometimes.  I mention that Fujimura sings the ED for Seikon no Qwasar.  She mentions she doesn’t think she has a good singing voice.  I don’t remember if I said “No, I liked it!” or just left it hanging like an insensitive prick.

-I ask about her working with Sakamoto Maaya and Suzumura Kenichi for Kara no Kyoukai.

She says that she felt like, because of how much of veterans they are to acting, that she had to try and keep up with their abilities when recording for Kara no Kyoukai, and that they have a deep connection with each other during the sessions.  I mention to the translator “Well, that’s because they’re married, aren’t they?” and he laughs.

-Ronikka asks for her role as Kneesocks if she did anything to get into character.

Fujimura mentions that before she goes into work, she takes a shower in the morning and does a training session in front of the mirror to help warm up for the day.

-Following off that, I asked if her “RUUUUUUURRRRRRUUUUU” was already in the script, or if she herself added how Kneesocks pronounced it.

She says that in the script, the direction to elongate “rrrruuuuurrrruuuuuuu” was already in the script, but she of course was the first one to do it.  I then asked if Scanty’s seiyuu then emulated her, but she says that each actress just said it the way they wanted to.

-Ronikka asks how she got into voice acting.

Fujimura mentions that she’s wanted to go into it since seeing Sailor Moon as a child when she was 12/13.  I ask which one of the Sailor Scouts is her favorite, but it’s misinterpreted as which series she likes (Original, S, R, etc.).  I then correct her in saying which of the Scouts/Senshi she likes, and she says at the moment, Rei.

We mention to her that Sailor Moon is being remade, and she asks if it’s a live action, but we mention it being an animation.

-I ask if she’s in any new anime this new season, and mention that she was Hauhau in Sakurasou, which they talk about amongst themselves a bit; they actually mention Ishizuka Atsuko, who at this point had already arrived at her own table earlier.  She looks at her agent and then concludes that I need to come to the panel tomorrow, and she’ll reveal what she’ll be in, besides the new Hayate season.

-Fujimura asks us about Stephanie Sheh, and what we think of her.  Me, being the ass-kisser I am, immediately say I like her Mineva more than Stephanie’s, but the dude next to me actually goes in depth on how Stephanie knows the community and material really well, and because she speaks english, she can communicate with the fans directly, and is very chill when approaching us.  Fujimura asks how in dubbed anime, Stephanie also does production work, and if that’s a common thing.  We say that it’s not common, and it’s the ones who have been in the industry for some time who also are able to acquire those skills during work to then work on those things.  She asks what characters Stephanie plays, and we mention Yui in K-On, Mikuru in Haruhi, Hinata in Naruto.

-Question is asked if there’s any American actors she really likes.

She says she likes Johnny Depp, and her mother really likes Kevin Bacon. lol.

-Me:Your hair is different from the photo in the sakura-con book.  (Smooth, jackass)

That hairstyle makes her look like a boy, she’s trying to be more girlish,

I ask if that’s her natural hair color *facepalm*

She says no it’s black.

Fujimura excuses herself for a second, most likely going to the bathroom.  Guy translator asks that he notices that American fans are pretty erratic, but they’re also pretty polite with the Japanese guests.  He asks why that is, and I explain that we don’t want Japanese guests to have a bad experience in America because we want them to come back again eventually.  He then mentions that he thinks her Japanese fans should be willing to fly out to Seattle so that they can do things like Sakura-con’s guest reception to meet and have dinner with her, rather than just autograph sessions where you see her for about 10-20 seconds, she signs, and they leave.  I agree whole heartedly.  He also asks if there’s any other con that does stuff like this, I mention AX’s meet and greet, but the Bandai Visual guy says that it’s not dinner, it’s just being able to say hi to them for a bit, and not as intimate as this.

As soon as Fujimura got back, they said that it was time for them to go, so they thanked us and me and the other guys got up to leave them.  All this while, people were taking pictures with Luna and Aoi, so I also went to get a picture of them with me.  I then told the translator to tell them I’m looking forward to the concert tomorrow and they said something back to the likes of “Let’s all have fun together and sing!” I think LiSA said the same type of thing last year during her panel, standard idol answer lol.

Luna is actually a lot smaller than me, I’m just leaning against the window.

Got an autograph with Atsuko Ishizuka, who spoke a bit of English, enough to understand me when I said I wanted to get her autograph.

I tell her I really liked Sakurasou, she thanks me and asks who my favorite character is.  I say Shiina, she says Nanamin.  I tell her I cried for Nanami a lot because she goes through a lot of stuff in the series.  I thanked her and left, and headed back to the hotel for the day.

Best $50 spent.  Aside from the other $50 shit I bought here.

And to make things even more sweet, my luggage did actually come in at 10:30.  Today ended on a good note, so tomorrow would be too and I’d get my goal of getting my Ibuki stick art signed…or so I thought…

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Figure Review – Special Deliveries Pt. 1 (Alter Saber Lily, Alter Fate -Phantom Minds-)

It’s gonna be a long day…

See these piles of boxes?  This currently includes the following:

-The figures that I bought from AX this year
-Figmas/Nendoroids from my parents’ house that I couldn’t bring over on my initial flight here
-A new little something I bought from bigbadtoystore.com

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IT’S MAHVEL BAYBEE: Preparing for the switch – Character/Team analysis

Team Viral Robo (alt. Metal Masturbation toys for Wesker)

This is more of a personal post about me talking about myself rather than the news reposts I’ve been doing for the better part of a few weeks, but it’s also my own way of planning how to approach UMvC3 when it releases this year; perhaps it could inspire others to do the same if they haven’t already.

The most comprehensive list of changes to the original cast of MvC3, as well as gameplay mechanics, for UMvC3 were compiled at here while I was away.  While looking at it, I’ve begun to reflect on my own team and whether or not I’ll be switching mains.

No, that’s actually not really the truth.  In almost any game I’ve been somewhat competitive at, if that game is part of a series, it’s natural for me as it might be for others, to change what characters they play in depending on how the new system for that particular fighting game is.  This of course can fall along the lines of “tier-whoring” but I think it’s more of an analysis on what made a character you like and used well work for that particular system and what now works in the new system.  If you’re driven by a one-character love, then that’s fine; God knows I love Chun-Li enough to attempt to be competent with her in any incarnation in any game (which, coincidentally, turns out pretty well in some games).  But a lot of us are also playing in hopes of winning a tournament, and sometimes we can feel that no matter how good we can get at what might be a mediocre character, we’d have a better chance of winning if we were to find another character that can fulfill that same role either better, or just as well with more bells and whistles to boot.

I could say more on this, but it’d also require me to think and structure my sentences better to actual make it comprehensible and entertaining to read.  To get back to my main point, I present what was my current tournament running team that I only recently was able to use decently.

Wesker – ß (Samurai Edge)
Doom – α (Plasma Beam)
Spencer – Γ (Armor Piercer)

What this team does in a nutshell -

Wesker – A lot of the inspiration and strategy for this Wesker comes from the Marvel 1.0 Viscant video on Cross Counter, and Maximillian’s “Assist Me! Wesker” tutorial series in which both Viscant and Ma uses Wesker on point as a VERY effective battery.  Typically, a full BnB combo with assists can lead Wesker to dealing 500k with the option to character reset with st. A and have an opportunity to mixup or reset a character with an airthrow that can typically lead to around 250-300k damage, cross up attempts in the corner using assists, or, my personal favorite, a jump loop combo in which Wesker is able to deal another 400k damage, which, added to opening with a full BnB combo, is enough to kill low health characters like Wolverine, Magneto, Amaterasu, Chun-Li, etc.  It’s these tools that make Wesker one of the most effective characters in the game and the reason why he’s so overused.  Assist wise, Wesker hardly ever gets to use it, but if he is snap backed, his Samurai Edge Assist is great for combo extending.

Dr. Doom – Again, a lot of inspiration for Doom’s position comes from Maximillian’s “Assist Me! Doom” tutorial series, and the Marvel 1.0 Viscant video, though that particular example is more indirect.  Doom is also a very good battery, though his combo’s aren’t nearly as basic, and I do not use him with assists whatsoever.  In my team, Doom is the Assist character, using the full screen Plasma Beam as a way to lock down opponents, rather than using the generally more popular Hidden Missiles Assist.  I choose this because the Plasma Beam assist is the perfect assist for setting up Wesker’s st. A reset, as well as providing a good blockstring for Wesker to teleport on the other side of the opponent and cross up, or away and rethink.  Other than that, I use Doom as a fairly hard hitting character, as he also has fantastic uses for meter which he also builds fairly well, especially when the opponent is in the corner.   Of particular note, a Doom BnB into Sphere Flame and XFC’d into another Sphere Flame deals 1.3 Million damage: this was enough to kill pre-patch Sentinel, and enough to kill Thor and Hulk should the need arise.

Spencer – Inspired (more “ripped off” than the other two though) by Combofiend’s use of him, as well as Desk’s own little combo videos with him, Spencer is used as my anchor, and the one most likely to receive an X-Factor Level 3.  Spencer is a bit more predictable in his patterns due to his use of the Zip Line move to really get around and cross up, but scoring that hit usually means a dead character, so Spencer has the ability to clean up fairly well.  Compared to Wesker and Doom, my Spencer is fairly basic, but I’ve found him effective to use in most matches I play him with.

Team Synergy – Altogether, the characters seem to interact well together, with the exception that rarely any DHC combos are used concerning Wesker and Doom, as Maximum Wesker doesn’t always combo into Sphere Flame depending on positioning.  DHCing into Spencer is a matter of timing with Maximum Wesker, but Doom’s combo into Air Photon Array, again with timing but less so, can DHC into Bionic Arm or Bionic Manuevers.

The Team CAN achieve the DHC glitch, though it’s only used practically in certain situations i.e. Doom dies because I made a mistake in calling him as an assist.  Spencer, on point, can do his jump combo into Zipline in the corner and set up for Bionic Manuevers, then DHC out with Wesker’s Counter Super, then OTG after the opponent falls.  Doom can also fill this role, but requires 3 Meters to do so: the plus side is that, in the corner, Doom has access to what Maximillian calls the “Brain Dead” combo in which Doom does a simple air loop, land, OTG, and repeat for a maximum of 3 times before using Sphere Flame.  It’s good to know I have the DHC glitch in my arsenal with this time, but I’ve never had a chance to actually use it.

The team in UMvC3

First off, the DHC glitch is gone, so that entire last paragraph is rendered useless. ;_;

For now, all I have to work with regarding buffs and nerfs are the initial gameplay notes from Comic-Con in that link in the 2nd paragraph.  The game will be playable this week at EVO and more information will most likely be gathered, but it wouldn’t be too farfetched to say that the nerfs and buffs to the original cast are most likely the ones we will see in the final game.  So what does this mean for the team I already have set up in vanilla MvC3?

Wesker notes from NeoGAF:
- Much lower health overall. Estimates put him in the 800-900K category now. We are talking at least a 200K drop in health.

- Appears to have slower teleports (?)

- Air throw pushes the opponent all the way to the corner making it harder to follow up.

Conclusion:  Thanks to Wesker’s dominance in MvC3, he appears to have received nothing but nerfs.  Wesker now requires fewer mistakes after a combo due to his lowered health, ironically making him able to kill HIMSELF in that same mixup game that can cause 900k if an opponent guesses wrong.  Slower teleports mean Wesker cannot cross-up as easily, and anyone looking to play the teleport game with him will need to adjust.  Wesker’s Air throw was originally very easy to follow and OTG no matter which direction you sent the opponent (Back would toss opponent right next to Wesker when he landed, Front would toss opponent a dash away)Personally, I used the Air Throw in the Corner anyways, but it does mean one less option Wesker has, and more usage of the Air Combo Loop, meaning it could be more predictable.

Doom notes:
+ Dooms j.H laser is faster

+ Faster cr.L

+ Launcher appears to be safer on block

+ Overall, Doom’s projectiles appear to be faster now

+ Doom’s forward throw causes a hard knockdown now

+ Air S moves faster vertically

+ Air S causes ground bounce on juggle

Conclusion:  On the other hand of the spectrum, Doom has received nothing but buffs according to the build at Comic Con.  Dooms Laser was a very annoying spacing tool in MvC2, but lost this effectiveness in MvC3 due to the fact that the laser did not travel very far unless you super jumped/in flight mode.  Whether this means UMvC3 will now take after Doom’s MvC2 laser remains to be seen, however.  Doom’s cr. A (L) was already pretty fast and spammable, making it faster seems to be unfair.  Launcher/S being safe on block is neat, but most of the Doom Blockstrings involving dash-cancelling might still be better than whiffing Launcher or having it blocked.  Projectiles being faster makes Doom’s spacing more effective, and should be advantageous for beating out other assists should it carry over to the Assist version.  Doom’s forward throw now has the potential to be followed up midscreen and not just in the corner.  Air S being faster makes getting Doom back on the ground more effective, especially for cross ups in the corner.  The ground bounce could become a problem if Doom cannot achieve the “Brain-dead” combo because of achieving a ground bounce, but I’m sure Maximillian will clarify at EVO if this is true or not.

Spencer notes:
+ New OTG Dive bomb move “Death from Above” that Spencer can combo after connecting

So far, the only information is that Spencer has a new OTG move.  Aside from damage being reduced from X-Factor Level 3, Spencer looks unchanged.  Whether this is good or bad will depend on what changes happen to the rest of the cast.

Overall:

It’s pretty hard to give a read on Spencer since I want to attribute his lack of information being that no one actually played much of him rather than that really is the only thing different about him, but he’s staying for the time being.  Doom’s buffs seem to only improve him significantly, so it’s safe to say that I will be keeping him as well.

Which only leaves us with Wesker.  Overall, Wesker seems to still be a top contender, since there is apparently no changes to the amount of damage he is able to do, his options still look like they are there, just different and maybe not as good, but not enough to rule him out completely as a character.  I might have lucked out in regards to always having to switch characters, so why would I bother with this entire report if I’m going to stick to the same character?

Well what about the other characters?  Is there a character that can do what Wesker does, but better? Despite not having that much info on the newer characters, I’ve prepared some choices on who I believe could potentially fill Wesker’s role just as well, if not better, in my team.

Option 1 – Strider

Maximillian mentioned that the reason he used Wesker is that he is because his playstyle resembles Strider’s from MvC2.  I never got competitively good at MvC2, but I’ve seen enough videos from MvC2 and a good read on the current gameplay videos of Strider in MvC3 to be certain that Strider is probably my best bet at a replacement.  The big hit I see here is mainly damage potential, but of course that’s only because no one’s been able to really experiment with Strider in the lab as opposed to always playing against a human opponent; he could potentially have  a jump loop we don’t know about yet.  Other than that, Strider has OTGs, teleports, and speed to match Wesker, as well as his own special tools like his animal and orb summons.  While Doom rocks don’t work quite as well here as opposed to MvC2, I can see Plasma Beam working just fine in that department.

Option 2 – Vergil

Option 2 – Vergil

Granted, Vergil’s gameplay hasn’t even been revealed yet, but there’s more to me picking at the game’s release besides “He’s such a badass.”  In DMC3, Vergil only had access to the Darkslayer style,whereas Dante had 5 styles to choose from.  Dante’s teleport is derived from a single move from the equivalent of Vergil’s Darkslayer style, the Trickster style.  Dante has alot of his styles integrated into his moveset, so naturally Vergil must also be so.  What Vergil had were only positioning Teleportations, which made him less versatile, but allowed him to get in and out of enemies’ faces very quickly in DMC3.  It’s safe to say Vergil will have access to these teleports, and that they will work similar to Wesker or Deadpool.  What he has available during/after these teleports will make or break my deal with him, but I’m fairly certain that Vergil might be just as good as Strider in providing for this team.

And finally…

Option 3 – Phoenix Wright

Wright, on the other hand of speculation of characters who gameplay we don’t even know yet, is just my personal favorite who I WILL make competitive because he’s motherfucking Phoenix Wright.  If he has no teleports, then so be it, I don’t need that shit.  HOLD IT THAT.

Conclusion

EVO is this weekend, so a final verdict on Strider might be available as early as next week.  Vergil and Wright will come with time.  For now, I’ll enjoy the strengths Wesker has now before the four months are up and make the most out of salty runbacks on vanilla Marvel before shit goes down this November.

Can’t think of anything witty to end this with.

-Jay

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Figure Review – ???

Before my next tour out, I got something in the mail.  Now what could it be?

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IT’S MAHVEL BAYBEE: Ultimate MvC3 Day 3 Comic Con news *Updated*

MOAR EVENTHUBS COPYPASTA

    • Above video is a Gamespot interview with Seth Killian.  Along with the usual information tread on before, Seth talks about the play-styles of the characters…which was also tread on before, if not so completely obvious from gameplay videos (Firebrand swoops down like in Ghosts and Goblins, Strider plays like his MvC2 iteration, etc.).  He did add that Hawkeye has 16 different arrow types as of this build, which was to be expected to try and differentiate him from Taskmaster’s angled arrow stuff, as well as Ghost Rider being very “Dhalsim” like, meaning he’s very suited to playing long range. There are also some new Marvel and Capcom cameos in some of the newer and older stages, so…yay?
    • The bigger tidbit comes in the latter part of the video, where Seth talks about Phoenix in regards to Dark Phoenix being overpowered.  Seth confirms that Phoenix isn’t as able to follow up air fireballs with teleports as quickly as before, so her mixup game has been weakened.
    • A live video feed with Niitsuma Ryota took place today regarding other details for UMvC3.  A complete list of changes was noted here so I’ll only touch upon a few things I found interesting: online features-wise, UMvC3′s match making process is much smoother, which I assume means that it will not boot you back to the menu screen like the original MvC3 did.  Moreover, online lag is reduced, though I’ll have to wait until I get my hands on the PS3 version to be the judge of that (as of now, I find the PS3 version’s online to be atrocious).
    • Not everyone got a new move, some only had their attacks and frame data tweaked.  C. Viper is noted to have gotten a new move, which I take to mean that she has a move in Marvel that she doesn’t actually have in SSF4, though it could also mean that the dive-Burning Kick portion of her Ultra II/Burning Dance is in, seeing as how Full Throttle is much different, yet similar.
    • Costumes and colors available have expanded past the usual 4. Places that let you pre-order the game have already been stated to give you a download code to a certain costume pack depending on where you buy it.

Personally, I wanted slut-dress Chun instead of Alpha tights again.

  • Shadow Mode will not return in UMvC3.  Good thing they realized how dumb it was.
  • If UMvC3 sells well, they could make more content.  LIKE MEGAMAN IN THE ROSTER.

I’m going to be mad if there’s an Ultimate MvC3: “Arcade Edition” next year…

EDIT:

Didn’t realize Olaf from Cross Counter posted up some interviews with Niitsuma, Killian, as well as more character changes.  Aside from the ones already listed by fLoE, Olaf has some other character notes, as well as more notes regarding the 4 new playable characters:

  • Akuma’s Demon Flip Kick OTG relaunch is more strict on timing, notes it might not even be possible anymore.
  • Amaterasu seems unchanged.
  • Chun-Li does slightly more damage, slightly higher priority. Considering you had to do a shit load of work (trust me, I know) to get around 400k damage with her, this could be positive, but not something that would make me go back to using her competitively.
  • Dante is slightly slower, 1 or 2 frames added to startup on some normals.  Hitstun decay affects him more, so Sky Dance is noted not to work as much, but he’s still very strong overall.
  • Morrigan is playable now, better damage and priority, flight combos useful.  Like Chun, I don’t believe this will still make her competitive.
  • Ryu’s charge Hadoukens and Shoryukens go more into detail, Hadouken can be made so fast it’s invisible O_O.  Ryu now has a “buff” Super similar to Dante’s Devil Trigger or Wolverine’s Berserker charge.  Gives Hadouken better durability in and out of assists, allows the cinematic Shinkuu Tatsumaki seen in the trailer.    The bounce off of Shinkuu Hadouken might be caused due to the buff super or it might be caused by holding down H a la Akuma, he posted he needs to test it to see which it is.
  • Spencer’s has a new “Flying Knee Drop” move, which I assume means the Death from Above move he has.
  • Wesker is largely unchanged, apart from his lower health commented by fLoE.
  • Dr. Doom is faster overall, j. S falls much faster, cr. A is super fast and mashable (as if it wasn’t in vanilla MvC3), S launch is safer on block.
  • Magneto’s Tri-dash is slower, which means unblockable set ups are now harder, if even possible at all.   However, the “ROM loop is now easier,” which I’m guessing he means the Ghetto ROM.  Flight loop seems harder to catch though.
  • Phoenix’s changes are the same noted by fLoE, but Olaf notes that “come November, she’ll be a character” and that “Aerial X-Factor doesn’t save her.”
  • She-Hulk’s TAC cancel is gone, cr. H/Slide has less range.
  • Wolverine can still combo after starting with a Dive Kick, the ground bounce just doesn’t work if the stagger was used to start the combo.  Swiss Cheese move by tapping the attack buttons rapidly a la Chun Li’s Hyakuretsukyaku.
  • X-23′s OTG/Ankle Slice has a slightly larger window making it easier to use, air combo range is trickier.

As for the new characters, there’s a lot of characters, so I’ll only cover things I really have things to say about:

  • Strider’s Animal summons are very safe, teleports and teleport dive kick is still good, running slide OTGs but hard to combo into without assists, Ouroburos is VERY GOOD: Olaf notes that, even without X-Factor, these things hurt, and that with Ouroburos activated, teleports and assists will lead to constant resets, and states that Ouroburos = dead character unless changed by the time the game releases.  As if Strider needed MORE reasons to be overplayed when the game comes out.
  • Ghost Rider is similar to Whip from the King of Fighters series, “very simple and very complicated.”  Still doesn’t seem like it’ll stop him from being at least mid-tier from what the gameplay videos show.
  • Hawkeye is challenging to play, needs to have a team built around him to get the most of him, tricks are interesting but pays for mistakes badly.  Level 1 Arrow Super has a ton of hitstun for DHC potential.  Normals are okay, but not great, as expected of a range/zoning character.
  • Firebrand has moves that automatically initiate flight, notes the command grab where Firebrand drags his opponent across the floor is his most terrifying move.  Olaf says he’s very awkward.  Dark Fire is the Bread and Butter Hyper, Luminous Body Buff Super wasn’t clear on what exactly was buffed, Red Arremer Super is noted to take different actions depending on what button is pressed: A for Fireball, B for Psycho Crusher-type move, C for swooping divebomb.  Could lead to some terrifying setups.
  • Olaf’s interview with Niituma and Killian amounted to “Why the fuck isn’t Megaman in the game?” which I find hilarious.  With Niitsuma, he confirms that Vegil being in the game is because the lead designer likes DMC, as well as the majority of Japan (which I take to mean as Japanese fangirls wet for Dante and Vergil).  Niitsuma says he wanted to avoid overlapping as much as possible, which I take to mean as Megaman being too similar to Zero.  Olaf then points out to him that Megaman in MvC and MvC2 was vastly different to Trigger/Volnutt in TvC, to which Niitsuma had trouble giving an answer.
  • Niitsuma says Capcom’s choices were mainly internal, Marvel choices were mainly Unity votes.  Good to know you cared about our votes, Capcom.
  • There won’t be any character reveals at EVO, we’ll have to wait at least a month.
  • Killian states he’s one of the biggest Megaman fans at Capcom, and that there’s only so much he can do.  He doesn’t know when the next time we’ll see Megaman will be.

-Jay

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